9/16 • NewsIllinois

Moline’s Bluffs Neighborhood Beautification Project

Kevin E. Schmidt

It was your average outbuilding resting on the north side of the Trinity Lutheran Church parking lot, a shed serving a variety of mundane needs.

It has become, thanks to a church engaged and in touch with its Bluffs neighborhood in Moline, a beacon of optimism featuring mural and a message.

It reads: “Grow. Care. Serve.”

“Gorgeous is what the building has become — a true symbol of hope and togetherness, resting on the campus of an amazing church and in the heart of a neighborhood special to its city,” said Jayne O’Brien, a dedicated dynamo, who guides the forces of the Moline Community Development Corporation.

In the early stages of 2019, the MDC, in partnership with the City of Moline, initiated a program to enhance several key neighborhoods within the city, including the Bluffs region, where Trinity Lutheran Church is located, 1330 13th St.

With an idea and some CDC financial support, the Bluffs and Trinity Lutheran – have gone above and beyond to enhance their respective neighborhood.

“This is the beauty of a caring, concerned and engaged neighborhood,” O’Brien added. “The folks from the Bluffs and the congregation from Trinity Lutheran, have always been engaged partners in bettering their neighborhood and this project is a wonderful extension of that.”

On a recent Saturday, with music from the 1960s playing in the background, 27 painters brought the mural to life. Five Bluffs neighborhood volunteers, 17 volunteers from Trinity Lutheran and five from Augustana College, including artist Devon Oliba-Farrell, meticulously crafted a statement of unity.

“All of us at Trinity are thrilled with how this came out, and the collaboration involved,” said Jane Bahls, a Bluffs resident, whose husband, Steven Bahls, is the president of Augustana College.

“Grow, Care, Serve” is the core of our church’s mission statement,” she added. “It’s also our message to the neighborhood. I love that the Augustana graphic design students included actual houses from the Bluffs Neighborhood, which to me represent the people living in them.”

For Bluffs residents, the work to better the neighborhood is ongoing. On Saturday, Oct. 5, beginning at 7:30 a.m., the Bluffs Neighborhood is having its annual fall cleanup. Volunteers will meet in the Trinity Lutheran parking lot and work the neighborhood, assisting city employees on trash set to the curb.

Bahls, says a positive, sincere message-driven relationship between Trinity Lutheran, the Bluffs, the City of Moline and Augustana College, makes the projects to better the Bluffs work.

“It’s a beautiful link between the church and the community,” she said of the mural and how it enhances the overall appearance of the Trinity campus. “It’s been an exciting collaboration.”

And a winner on all fronts.

You can find this Dispatch Argus Article here.

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